Friday, May 1, 2009

Wood-firing Continues


Chad Brown looks into the kiln from a safe distance,
eyeing pyrometric cones set inside the kiln
to monitor the temperature.
I took over stoking after Chad's shift.


There's a very quick moment, when closing the stoke hole door on David Stuempfle's kiln, when you both hear and feel a big swoosh. It's easy to miss. It's as if the someone sucker punched a giant in the stomach and knocked the wind out of him. A faint but powerful humph... and then it's quiet except for the crackle/sizzle of hardwood slabs igniting inside the kiln.

I spent my six-hour shift last night stoking, waiting for a rise in temperature, a fall in temperature, and then stoking again, maintaining the temperature, "soaking the kiln" until someone else took over and did the same. The kiln was started at midnight Monday.

My shift was over at midnight. James Ward, a bonsai-artist-turned-potter, from Orange County NC, took over the next shift, while David slept.


Flames lick one of my pots. Pot at the left
is on one of two narrow shelves on
either side of the firebox. You don't want to
knock pots off when stoking.


The kiln goddess


The kiln god.
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